Munda shops reject ‘legal tender’ coins
By TERENCE ZIRU
Three shops in Munda have reportedly rejected the Solomon Islands legal tender 10 cent (10¢) coins when a local decided to use them to purchase a roll of cigarette on Tuesday, 28th January.
Describing himself as an average person struggling in such difficult economic times, Benjamin Leve of Munda said he was shocked to learn from the owner that they did not accept 10 cent coins in a business transaction.
The incident started when Mr Leve entered the LI Poultry Company shop in Labete station with the intention of buying a single roll of cigarette.
Having picked a cigarette from the counter he then proceeded to hand over to the cashier ten pieces of 10¢ coins worth one dollar, the cost of the product.
When seeing what Mr Leve had offered, the cashier quickly rejected the coins and asked for the cigarette back saying that they could not accept the coins as payment.
Shocked and somewhat embarrassed by the incident, Leve admitted to stirring up a commotion at the store but believes he was in the right.
“I repeatedly asked for a reason for declining the coins and when I did not get an answer, I refused to move until I was given three good reasons.”
It was after some verbal exchanges that the cashier (owner) said that it was too difficult for them to count the coins and so they opted to no longer accept it.
Though unsatisfied with what he was told, Mr Leve was escorted out of the shop by a friend who witnessed the incident.
“After leaving the shop it sparked my curiosity” he said. “How many shops in Munda were actually doing this?”
Deciding to investigate further he visited five large shops in the area and found that only two shops out of five would take his coins and that the other three without a reason refused.
“It is a shame to see foreign owned shops not accepting Solomon Islands legal tender even as they do business in the Solomon Islands.”
In frustration Mr Leve shared his experience on social media only to find this was not an isolated incident and that others had gone through the same experience even in Honiara.
The long time fashion enthusiast and event manager explained that this was bigger than the refusal of payment with coins, but shines a light on the worth placed on our money.
“I wonder if this would or has happened to visiting tourists for example, and if so it would make us a laughing stock to find our country’s money is not even recognized in our own country.”
Mr Leve says he has reported the matter to the police and other authorities but has yet to hear from them as they are taking due process on the issue.
The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) the authority responsible for the country’s legal tender notes and coins could not be reached for comments yesterday, however comments are sought from them.